9:30 | Gina Fiandaca scheduled to be sworn into office as transportation secretary | Secretary's Office, Department of Transportation, 10 Park Plaza, Suite 4160, Boston
9:30 | AG Campbell, U.S. House Minority Whip Clark, reproductive rights activists and law firms gather in the attorney general's office to announce "a new abortion resource for patients and providers." The event will feature Rebecca Hart Holder of Reproductive Equity Now, Lola Remy of Women's Bar Foundation, Carol Rose of the ACLU of Massachusetts, and former AG Martha Coakley, who will represent five law firms at the event | AG Campbell's Office, One Ashburton Place, 20th Floor, Boston | Livestream
11:00 | House and Senate meet in informal sessions.....House and Senate chambers | House Livestream | Senate Livestream
12:00 | Mass. Gaming Commission meets and is expected to vote on approval of certificates of operation to allow Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor to begin accepting bets on sporting events beginning Tuesday.....Agenda and Access Info
2:00 | Gov. Healey and Lt. Gov. Driscoll meet with legislative leaders, including Senate President Spilka and House Speaker Mariano. This will be the second Monday meeting for Beacon Hill's Democratic leadership since Gov. Healey and Lt. Gov. Driscoll took office | Senate President's Office
Here’s one good way to avoid the fact that it’s Mean Old Monday Morning — let’s just leap ahead to Tuesday, which is the cool day this week anyhow. Cause the thing is, at the State House, tomorrow is all anyone’s going to be talking about today.
Here’s why: by the end of the day tomorrow:
— Jim Lyons will know whether he will remain GOP party chair, though we all know Jim Lyons apparently will ALWAYS BE GOP PARTY CHAIR, barring intervention by campaign finance regulators.
— Which brings us to sports betting, which also will get off to — well, whatever kind of start it gets off to Tuesday, as athletic wagering finally comes to Massachusetts. The state’s in-person gaming parlors will be the startup points. No, you can’t bet on indictments. Or cornhole.
— The state’s chief budget writers will have agreed on a consensus estimate for the state’s revenue take in 2024. They also seem ready to declare how much the high-wealth surtax will generate this fiscal year. One suspects Administration and Finance Secretary Matthew Gorzkowicz already has an opinion on whether a tax-credit is affordable in the budget he’ll submit March 1; one further suspects that his opinion is “yes,” but one also knows that one should have the good sense to just wait and see.
— 175 cities and towns will have filed an up-zoning plan under the MBTA Communities Act, or missed the deadline, which is, yes, Tuesday. The act catalyzes more multifamily construction. It also signifies the state getting more serious about intervening at the local level to engineer an increase in affordable housing, including in places that have long made clear they don’t want to permit it.
This is all by way of attempting to give you a read on the week ahead, which, it must be acknowledged, contains days other than Tuesday. Today’s schedule, in fact, holds its charms: the swearing-in of new Transportation Secretary Gina Fiandaca, who doesn’t start off beleaguered, exactly, but certainly beset; a Lottery Commission meeting at which we’ll hear whether the state’s game is continuing its recently shaky sales performance, even before sports betting its market; and a virtual rally this evening to restart the campaign for a moratorium on new prison construction in Massachusetts, with a new governor and a new ideology in charge.
So rest assured, there will be plenty of new action tomorrow in MASSterList, as well as in the state’s casinos.
Woburn latest teacher’s union to defy the law and strike
Following in the picket line footsteps of Brookline and Malden, teachers in Woburn will be out on strike today, and students will have no classes, though it’s illegal for teachers to strike in Massachusetts. These are not random outbreaks — with staffing shortages hitting the schools as hard as other sectors, and the workforce and customers (i.e. students) alike wracked by their pandemic ordeal, unionized educators are demanding more generosity from municipal governments. The Times Chronicle piece is a day behind the story, being a weekday paper, but has the depth you’d expect. Teachers elsewhere will be watching closely.
Latest protest over Faisal’s death heard in Somerville, Cambridge
The outcry, and outrage, are not going away. Hundreds of protesters rallied over the shooting of Sayed Arif Faisal, shot to death by Cambridge police during a confrontation in early January. The ralliers demanded once again to know the names of the officers who confronted Faisal, and called for indictments.
Worcester DOJ police probe could take years
In another where activists are calling for action on police behavior: the Patch reports on a study of “pattern and process” investigations by the Department of Justice, such as the one DOJ is now said to be conducting in Worcester, and finds that they tend to take way longer than most activists would probably like. The Worcester Regional Research Bureau did the study, and the Patch did the reporting, and this seems an opportune moment to urge you to click on the Patch, hit some ads, and keep it in business.
Getting back to the theme of Talking About Tuesday: Keller@Large yesterday featured Anthony Amore, late of the state auditor’s race and still one of the leading voices for the moderate wing of the state GOP. With Republicans slated to vote tomorrow in Marlborough on whether to replace Lyons, Amore said the party’s current standing is mainly Lyons’ fault.
Responding to Keller’s observation that a party only enrolling 8.7 percent of the state’s population has basically hit fringe-party status, Amore opined, “There’s a fringe of that fringe that’s very vocal and very vicious,” and that wresting control back from that contingent is the first step on the road back to relevance and credibility, and the restoration of a two-party state. Amore’s choice for party chair is Amy Carvelvale, Lyons’ most vigorous and seemingly most potent challenger.
On Channel 5, UMass chancellor Marty Meehan told Ed Harding and Carmen Sacchetti he favors Gov. Healey’s proposal to make community college free for qualifying students over age 25 — which can and should be read as not being aligned with Senate President Spilka’s call to make free associate’s degrees available to all Massachusetts residents. One can see why — dollars that flow to community-college scholars are not available for the UMass system. Meehan also said he expects a new UMass Amherst chancellor to be selected by May, and that they will likely be on the job in July. The roundtable duo of Mary Ann March and Rob Gray discuss, among other matters, U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark’s reaction to the arrest of her daughter and her statement on anti-police violence.
Heated Debate: Lawmakers could consider limits on gas stoves
Christian Wade of the Eagle Tribute takes a look at legislative moves to ban the use of gas stoves in the Bay State, part of a larger trend toward phasing out fossil fuels in home construction and appliances — and by “trend,” we don’t mean like, hashtag trendy, but imperative new direction if the state is to mount an effective response to the climate crisis.
Ah, but who — or what — wrote the bills?
Wade has another bills-in-play piece running in the Eagle-Tribune this morning, this one looking at the blazingly hot and rapidly evolving realm of artificial intelligence and the new language interfaces that can converse and write with promising and frightening brilliance. Rep. Barry Finegold has filed legislation that (good luck) seeks to limit the extent to which the technology can be abused, and impose some consequences when it is. Sen. Jason Lewis and Rep. Shawn Garballey are proposing the inevitable commission.
The other side of the Latinx coin
Marcela Garcia of the Globe opinion page had quite a scintillating piece last week about the groundbreaking MASSInc survey of Massachusetts Latinos. Now comes the conservative New Boston Post, riffing on Arkansas Gov. Sarah Hukabee Sanders, and noticing that the — dare we say it? — Latinx respondents in that poll reported that, for the most part, they don’t use the term “Latinx.”
Heroux pitches lawmakers on Ash Street Jail closure
Bristol County Sheriff Paul Heroux took several SouthCoast state lawmakers on a tour of the Ash Street Jail in New Bedford to pitch his plan to close the 135-year-old facility. Marcus Fero of WBSM reports Heroux told lawmakers there are now two options for relocating detainees to the sheriff’s main campus in neighboring Dartmouth but for now is just hoping lawmakers will fund a feasibility study.
$4 billion and counting: Bay State cannabis sales pass another milestone
Massachusetts recreational cannabis outlets have now sold more than $4 billion worth of product, a milestone that comes as many industry watchers are predicting market turmoil and consolidation amid falling prices. Cassie McGrath of the Boston Business Journal reports the news from the Cannabis Control Commission came not long after the first pot shop closing since sales began in 2018.
Fundraising flex: Sarno sets record as he ramps up for re-election in Springfield
Message sent. As challengers launch bids to unseat him in November’s election, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno posted the best fundraising month of his political life in December, MassLive’s Jim Russell reports. Sarno, who has yet to formally launch his re-election bid, brought in $146,000 last month and now has a war chest three times as large as when he ran for re-election two years ago.